Reit, real estate, internationalization, data envelopment analysis, scale efficiency


Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) are firms that own and manage income producing commercial real estate for the benefit of their shareholders. The three studies in this dissertation explore topics relating to best practices of REIT management and portfolio composition. Managers and investors can use the findings herein to aide in analyzing a REIT’s performance and determining optimal investment policies. Utilizing REIT from SNL Real Estate and CRSP, the first two studies examine the role of international diversification upon performance, technical efficiency, and scale efficiency. The third study utilizes REIT data to examine technical and scale efficiency over a 21 year window and investigates characteristics of the REITs that affect the levels of efficiency. CHAPTER 1 – PROFITABILITY OF REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT TRUST INTERNATIONALIZATION Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) in the United States have grown extremely fast in terms of assets and market capitalization since the early 1990’s. As with many industries, U.S. REITs began acquiring foreign properties as their size grew and they needed to seek new investment opportunities. This paper investigates the role of holding foreign assets upon the total return of U.S. based REITs from 1995 through 2010. We find that holding foreign properties in associated with negative relative performance when risk, size, and other common market factors are controlled for. Interestingly, the source of the negative performance is not related to the two largest areas for foreign investment, Europe and Canada. Instead, the negative performance is iii detected when a REIT begins acquiring properties in other global regions such as Latin America and Asia/Pacific. This paper has broad ramifications for REIT investors and managers alike. CHAPTER 2 – EFFECT OF INTERNATIONAL DIVERSIFICATION BY U.S. REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT TRUSTS ON COST EFFICIENCY AND SCALE As U.S. based Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) have increased their degree and type of holdings overseas, there has yet to a study that has investigated such activity on the REIT’s measures of cost efficiency and scale. Using data from 2010, Data Envelopment Analysis techniques are used to estimate measures of technical and scale efficiency that are then regressed against measures of international diversification and other controls to measure the impact of this global expansion. It is determined that REITs with foreign holdings are significantly larger than domestic REITs and are correspondingly 96% of foreign investing REITs are operating at decreasing returns to scale. Further almost every measure of foreign diversification is negative and significantly impacting scale efficiency. However, simply being a REIT with foreign holdings did positively and significantly associate with higher levels of technical efficiencies. Thus REITs that expand globally may have some advantages in operational efficiency but lose considerably in terms of scale efficiency by increasing their size as they move cross-border. iv CHAPTER 3 – THE EVOLUTION OF TECHNICAL EFFICIENCY AND ECONOMIES OF SCALE OF REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT TRUSTS Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) is used to measure technical and scale efficiency of 21 years of Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) data. This is the longest, most complete dataset ever analyzed in the REIT efficiency literature and as such makes a significant contribution as prior efficiency studies’ data windows end in the early 2000’s at latest. Overall, REITs appear to continue to operate at decreasing returns to scale despite rapid growth in total assets. Further, there is some evidence of improving technical efficiency overtime; however the finding is not strong. In summation, it appears that REITs have not improved on a relative basis despite the rapid growth, a finding that suggests a potential of a high degree of firm competition in the REIT industry. Finally, firm characteristics such as debt utilization, management and advisory structure, and property type specialization are tested for their impact upon technical and scale efficiency.


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Graduation Date





Anderson, Randy


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Business Administration

Degree Program

Business Administration; Finance








Release Date

August 2017

Length of Campus-only Access

5 years

Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)


Business Administration -- Dissertations, Academic, Dissertations, Academic -- Business Administration